Liberty UK and The Civil Liberties Trust are raising funds online to fund high-stakes litigation against the UK government over the Snoopers Charter, a mass-surveillance law that requires tech companies and telcos to retain everything you do online and hand it over to government, law enforcement, and private contractors without warrants or even minimal record-keeping.
The Snoopers Charter is the most invasive surveillance law ever passed by a "democracy", requiring service providers to retain records of virtually everything you do online and with your phone, and then allowing virtually "everyone" to search that data, without a warrant or even record-keeping, so it's virtually impossible to catch systemic abuse of the system.
With the passage of the Snoopers Charter earlier this month, the UK has become the most-surveilled "democratic" state in the world, where service providers are required to retain at least a year's worth of their customers' browsing history and make it searchable, without a warrant, to a variety of agencies — and no records are kept of these searches, making it virtually impossible to detect petty vendetta-settling, stalking, or systemic abuses (including selling access to criminals, foreign governments, and institutionalised racism).
Britain's love-affair with mass surveillance began under the Labour government, but it was two successive Conservative governments (one in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who are nominally pro-civil liberties) who took Tony Blair's mass surveillance system and turned it into a vicious, all-powerful weapon. — Read the rest
Before Theresa May became Prime Minister of the UK, she was the Pry Minister of the UK, the principle proponent of the Snoopers Charter, a sweeping domestic surveillance bill that the European Court of Justice's Advocate General has just found to be excessive under EU law.
The Members of Parliament voted in favour of the far-ranging, massively invasive spying bill after the Tories agreed to minor improvements, like dropping the requirement for mandatory crypto backdoors if they would be infeasible or expensive to implement.
Today, Parliament is debating the Snoopers Charter, a wide-ranging mass-scale domestic surveillance law that allows government agencies to peer into the most intimate details of your life, conscripting internet and technology companies as participants in surveillance, with only the thinnest veneer of checks and balances and accountability for the inevitable abuse.
Campaigners from Liberty, a civil liberties group, took to the streets of London (and the lobby of the Home Office!) and grabbed peoples' phones, browsing them while explaining that they just wanted to build a detailed dossier of their lives by looking at their communications, browsing history and location data — mirroring the way that the Snoopers Charter, pending mass surveillance legislation, will allow UK government agencies to harvest "bulk data" and store and search it, without suspicion or warrant. — Read the rest
Cassetteboy, last seen with this amazing video about David Cameron's relationship with dead pigs, is back with a new video that mashes up the UK Prime Minister and Home Secretary/Sith Lord Theresa May describing the real powers in the notorious Snoopers Charter (a far-reaching spying bill), set to the Police's "I'll Be Watching You" (what else?).
Ed from the UK Open Rights Group writes, "Right now, the Government is ramming a new snooping law through Parliament. The Investigatory Powers Bill would force companies such as Sky, BT, Google and Facebook to keep detailed records of what we do online for a year — even if we are not suspected of committing any crime whatsoever."
The Snoopers Charter is the UK Tory government's proposal to force ISPs to retain records of all their customers' online activities, and the government has used the excuse of the Paris attacks to call for its immediate passage despite the fact that the £175m/year the government has budgeted to defray ISPs' costs is not even close to enough to pay for the massive surveillance effort, meaning that Britons' ISP bills are set to soar if it passes.
A timely entry from the Scarfolk blog, which documents the doings in a small, sinister English town caught in a loop between 1970 and 1979: the I-Spy Surveillance books, which "transformed the tedium of surveillance into play, encouraging children to routinely observe and record the actions, speech and private correspondence of people who the government deemed to be enemies of society. — Read the rest
The UK government has budgeted £175m/year to bribe ISPs to magically divide their customers' "data" and "metadata" and store a year's worth of the latter. This isn't even close to the real cost of creating and maintaining the massive storehouses of highly sensitive data on every Briton, and so ISPs are warning government and the public to expect much higher broadband rates in the future in order to recoup the cost of mass surveillance.
The Interception of Communications Commissioner was a watchdog created by the UK government to produce annual reports on the government's use of its surveillance powers; in September 2017 that function was folded into the Investigatory Powers Commissioner Office (IPCO) as part of the Snoopers Charter, and the UK government let the iocco-uk.info — Read the rest
One of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government ministers told a reporter from The Sun that the government is planning on invoking the "Technical Capabilities Orders" section of the Snoopers Charter, a 2016 domestic spying bill; the "orders" allow the government to demand that companies cease using working cryptography in their products and services, substituting it with deliberately defective code that can be broken.
Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight).
Last July, the European Court of Jutice's Advocate General ruled that the UK's mass surveillance regime was unconstitutional, triggering an appeal to the ECJ itself, which has affirmed that under European law, governments cannot order retention of all communications data; they must inform subjects after surveillance has concluded; must only engage in mass surveillance in the pursuit of serious crime; and must get independent, judicial authorization.
The Snoopers Charter, an extreme surveillance bill that passed last week, and it's the most extensive domestic spying regime that any "democratic" country has passed, and is a potential blueprint for Orwellian surveillance elsewhere in the years to come.
In "A Letter to My Allies on the Left," Rebecca Solnit — one of my literary and political heroes — asks the left to give up the practice of reflexively dismissing the good that politicians do, because those politicians also do terrible things.